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George Herbert's Travels

International Print and Cultural Legacies

Christopher Hodgkins

The essays in this collection feature many of the world’s leading Herbert scholars and are drawn from the more than fifty papers and plenary presentations delivered at the George Herbert’s Travels conference held at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in October 2008. They track Herbert’s “heart in pilgrimage” through four centuries of time, through west and east across space, through the inner spaces of the suffering body and soul, and through modernity into the postmodern. These essays ask how travel through space and time influences the reception and creation of literary art; in other words, how the movement of poetry affects and effects poetic movements. The interdisciplinary contributors observe Herbert’s poetry traveling geographically (from earlier British receptions, to the “American strand,” to the Far East), traveling internally (through the interior terrain of formal and bodily experience), and traveling temporally (through the shifting cultural landscapes made by Modern and Postmodern minds). Along the way, they discover connections between Herbert and a kaleidoscopic range of writers and thinkers including Augustine, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Edward Herbert, Anne Clifford, Robert Herrick, Henry Vaughan, Christopher Harvey, Thomas Traherne, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Ridler, R. S. Thomas, Simone Weil, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, Philip Larkin, Harold Bloom, Anthony Hecht, John Bradburne, Seamus Heaney, Dallas Wiebe, Carole Rumens, and Vikram Seth.

Remarkably, the home-bound Herbert anticipates many modern and post-modern traveling hopes and anxieties. He knows the call of sheer wanderlust, the craving to escape “abroad,” while also recommending the utilitarian value of travel to improve oneself, to expand one’s cultural, commercial, and spiritual horizons. Yet Herbert also somehow knows the jaded disillusionment, the “grief of pleasures” experienced by the prodigal traveler who has been abroad and abroad and abroad, and strikes the board, and cries “No more!” And in the end—literally, at the end of The Temple, in The Church Militant—he seems to prophesy the present age, in which traveling culture prefigures both millennium and apocalypse.
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University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 300Size: 6 3/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-61149-338-2 • Hardback • October 2011 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
Christopher Hodgkins is professor of English and director of the Atlantic World Research Network at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His previous books include Authority, Church, and Society in George Herbert: Return to the Middle Way, Reforming Empire: Protestant Colonialism and Conscience in British Literature, and George Herbert’s Pastoral: New Essays on the Poet and Priest of Bemerton. Currently he is co-editor, with Robert Whalen, of The Digital Temple, the first original-sources born-digital edition of Herbert’s English poetry, and is at work on Anxious Beauty: George Herbert and the Protestant Aesthetic.
Chapter 1 Introduction: "Heart in pilgrimage": Traveling with George Herbert
Part 2 Setting Our Bearings
Chapter 3 What Makes Him So Great?
Chapter 4 "Neither too mean, nor yet too gay"? The Historians, "Anglicanism," and George Herbert's Church
Part 5 Travels at Home and Abroad
Chapter 6 "Order plays the soul": Anne Clifford, The Temple, and the Spiritual Logic of Housework
Chapter 7 "What is a heart?" Herbert's Liberty and Dickinson
Chapter 8 Between Poetry and Devotion: Lancelot Andrewes, George Herbert, and T.S. Eliot
Chapter 9 "Two worlds become much like each other": Poetic Co-inherence in Little Gidding and The Temple
Chapter 10 The Temple in Fragments: The Reception of George Herbert in 20th-Century Japan
Part 11 Travels Within: Herbert in Form and Embodiment
Chapter 12 "Sweets compacted": Posies and Poems of George Herbert
Chapter 13 Herbert, Heaney: At the Bodily Fulcrum
Chapter 14 Dallas Wiebe's On the Cross: Herbertian Irony and the Poet's Afflicted
Part 15 Time Travels: Herbert's Modern and Contemporary Renaissance
Chapter 16 "Spontaneity:" Herbert's Irruption in the Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop and James Merrill
Chapter 17 In a Serious House: Church-Going with George Herbert and Philip Larkin
Chapter 18 Anthony Hecht's "Exalted Manna"
Chapter 19 "That I may sit and write": Herbert's Presence in Recent British Poetry